Suicidal tendencies and ego identity in adolescence.

H. Bar-Joseph, D. Tzuriel

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    25 Scopus citations


    Studies distinguishing between adolescent suicide attempters and others usually deal with demographic, physiological, or familial contributing factors. The objective of this study was to investigate the relationship between ego identity development and suicidal inclinations at adolescence. The main hypothesis was that ego identity formation at adolescence may serve as a "buffering" force by providing stability, continuity, meaningfulness, social recognition, commitment, and inner strength against suicidal attempts. Two groups of adolescents, a suicidal group (n = 10) recruited from mental health clinics and a normative group (n = 30), were matched for intelligence, demographic variables, and socioeconomic status. The Adolescent Ego Identity Scale (AEIS; Tzuriel, 1984) and the Israeli Index of Potential Suicide (IIPS) based on Zung's (1974) scale were administered to both groups. The results indicated that the normative group scored significantly higher than did the suicidal group on all but one of the AEIS factors and lower on the IIPS. A MANOVA carried out on ego identity factors revealed a significant overall difference between the two groups. Univariate analyses indicated that most of the ego identity factors differentiated between the two groups. Negative correlations between AEIS and IIPS were found in both groups, especially between total AEIS score and IIPS in the normative group (r = -.89, p less than .001). The findings in general confirm the "buffering" force hypothesis. These preliminary results are discussed in regard to theoretical and preventive aspects.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)215-223
    Number of pages9
    Issue number97
    StatePublished - Mar 1990


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